New Paris St-Germain Mauricio Pochettino seems to have sent out an overture to Barcelona’s wantaway superstar Lionel Messi by stating “any big player in the world is always welcome at PSG”.
Messi has requested a transfer from the Catalan club and has been strongly linked with a switch to Manchester City in England and Inter Milan in Italy. But Pochettino’s comments has thrust PSG back into contention for the Argentine superstar — who has a strong bond with current PSG striker and former Barca teammate Neymar.
Should Messi head to Paris, and they manage to hold on to young France superstar Kylian Mbappe, last year’s Champions League finalists would have a formidable front line, that even Bayern Munich would fear.
During his first media conference as PSG boss, the former Tottenham manager was asked about the possibility of Messi — and his former Spurs regulars Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen.
“To be honest, we are not talking about that,” said Pochettino. “They are rumours, and the reality is that we have just arrived.”
While Alli and Eriksen would bolster the bench, a move for Messi would leave a global tremor. In July, the Argentina No. 9 said he wanted to exercise a clause in his contract which he claimed allowed him to leave Barca on a free transfer. However, after a short legal wrangle, the club prevailed in their refusal and Messi was forced to remain, as a release would cost 700m euro.
All that will become moot in the summer, when Messi’s contract finally expires, and the 33-year-old will be free to choose his next club without the lawyers getting involved (they still will).
While Pochettino refused to directly name targets, the statement seemed to suggest a lure towards Messi — where he would link up with old pal Neymar.
“We are going to have time to talk in the future, but any big player in the world is always welcome at Paris St-Germain,” said Pochettino.
“A club like PSG, with structures in place, is always keeping an eye on a wide range of players. I think we’ll make the best decisions for the club and for the team. We are trying to adapt to a new club with meetings, training, preparing for the game against St-Etienne — which is the main objective.”